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Al Young Studios Newsroom

The circle of creativity

Some time ago, I received an inquiry from someone asking about the business end of being a full-time artist. The first question on the list asked how to go about selling one's artwork without "taking too much time away from the creative process."  The question is surely high on the list of any artist who  "turns professional," and if it isn't, it will be.

A lifetime of endeavor can be devoted to answering the question, but the following excerpt from my attempt to reply may be useful as a beginning:

Over the years, I have had to persevere in re-defining "creativity" so that my personal definition includes work involved in delivering originals and reproductions to the public. That effort really does take a very great amount of time away from what we usually think of as creativity. And the only way I know of to deal with that "lost time" is to define creativity in such a way as to include all of the "non-creative" work.

As a professional artist I am not simply creating when I paint. I am creating whenever I do anything that helps establish and further the cause of the studio. That means that taking out the garbage is as much a part of my work as painting, sewing costumes, bookkeeping, filing, washing the windows, or writing a post.

Having a studio is not simply having a place to paint or draw, but a place where the necessary support services cluster around what is typically thought of as the creation of artwork.

If the definition of "creating artwork" were thought of as a circle, and everything inside the circle is what the artist does to create it and everything outside the circle is what the artist depends on someone else to do, then the artist must consider everything inside the circle to be part of his or her creative endeavor; otherwise, the cognitive dissonance involved in spending time "away" from painting, drawing, etc., can be overwhelming. Of course, not everything inside the circle requires the same amount of time, but, given that distinction, everything inside the circle is of equal importance.

Like the top, middle window in the following photograph, the business end of studio art may neither look nor feel like all the other facets of an artist's endeavors, but it is essential to the symmetry of the whole.

Photograph by Ashton Young

Tags: 2012, Inspiration and creativity

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